iLoks are both awesome and annoying. They let you run your software on any machine you like, but are easy to lose, break or forget to take with you to your session. iLok is the Marmite of software protection. Pace have announced that they are taking the technology online. With iLok Cloud they are putting forward a new approach to software license protection.
I know what you’re thinking. What are you going to do when there’s no internet connection? Many people run their DAW computers offline to avoid unexpected updates and the flotsam and jetsam of internet browsing. Or maybe you’re playing live and there’s no reliable wi-fi connection at the club or venue. Or maybe you’re making music in a cave somewhere. Who knows, but this is the first question that comes to mind as soon as you mention online software protection.
Propellerheads do it with Reason but give you a dongle as well for those moments went you can’t get online to authorise. Roland have recently added an offline feature to their Cloud service so you can run their synths for 30 days without a connection.
Pace suggest that companies who want to use iLok Cloud offer it as an upgrade to existing customers who then surrender the license on the hardware iLok for the iLok Cloud version. That sounds like a potential disaster to me. Of course, you can carry on as normal, authorising computers and carrying an iLok dongle, but how long will it be before iLok Cloud is the only option offered?
However, I imagine the majority of us run systems that are always online and for the most part this is a great move. No more shuttling an iLok from place to place, using up a USB port or trying to find the thing. No longer having to have it sticking out the side of a laptop would be an awesome thing.
It all depends on the reality of what happens when you run your software. There are genuine situations where being online is not an option or is undesirable and I’m sure Pace are aware of that.
The new system will be available to developers in November and may start appearing by early next year. I’m sure it’ll all be fine.
- Pace website